So, what do you think about when you want to buy a computer? Here are some possible questions:online or in a store? How much RAM? Which features? How fast? Mac or PC?
Buying a computer is a different experience in Yaoundé. One must go to a reputable store because a lot of computers are sold with pirated software that can cause problems in the long run. And, online orders would most likely be stolen. That means, there are a lot fewer choices of models. The first store we went to had only two HP models. The next store had about ten models of varying power and price. Both times the primary criteria was price with some consideration of features.
Ah, price. Nothing is fixed here and I am not a good negotiator. I get fed up and just want to pay whatever; I am sure that is because I didn’t grow up with this system. The process is also a question of patience. Fortunately, Willie Langdji went with me. He has bought them before for programs and is a good haggler. We finally bought an Acer machine with case. The starting price was 350,000 and we got it for 280,000 with a (Toshiba) case thrown in. And, a can of juice for each of us once the deal was struck.
So why buy it here? Computers may be cheaper in the US, but they are all in English. Here the operating system and software are in French – better for those using them here. The power cord is also set for the electric system here. And, that’s 5-8 pounds less weight to carry on the trip over!
This computer was purchased with money from my home church, East Liberty Lutheran Church, designated to help with computer training for the Central African Evangelical Lutheran Church. Next, once I am in Garoua Boulai, I’ll think about the logistics of the class.
I have done less walking in Yaoundé than Brussels, but still try to walk as I can. Mostly that has meant walking along a very busy main street. Yesterday, about a ten-minute walk from the house, I walked past a brewery. I think this is where they make several varieties of beer: Castel, 33, Beaufort, Mutzing, and a dark on like Guinness (at least these are the beers generally available). The large Coke can out front tells me they may also bottle those products and other sodas. The other day we saw a tanker truck taking liquid from one side of the road to the other. It is a huge place. Here are a few pictures. Make you thirsty??
Many roads in Yaoundé are paved, but some are not. And, the paved ones sometimes have pot holes (the unpaved ones certainly have many ruts and holes). I am happy to see that there is one completed newly-paved road and another in process. Here’s a picture of some of the equipment. As they work on the road, cars can’t pass (usually), but motorcycle taxis do weave among the workers and equipment to deliver passengers… There also seems to be a lot of building construction. Progress?!?
On my walk, I stopped in a grocery store – not because I needed something, but just because. For bigger stores here (not the little boutique kind), there is often a bakery at the entrance. You can buy bread, cakes, and pastries. Then you enters the main part of the store (past the check-out counters). They sell lots of canned and packages goods. Some stores sell veggies and fruits. What I think is interesting is that if I don’t pick up a basket, very soon an employee brings me one. Then, sometimes, that person follows me around carrying the basket – as a service. So different than the US when you are only followed around if the employee thinks you are shoplifting... I can’t say I am comfortable with the help!
To Garoua Boulai
Tomorrow Willie and I head to GB. There will be meetings with church leaders Tuesday and Wednesday then he will return to Yaoundé and I will begin to settle into my “regular” work.